Game 84: Red Sox at Tigers

PREGAME: Both the Tigers and Red Sox spent yesterday thumping their opponents. The Sox are coming off a sweep of the Devil Rays and carry a 4 game winning streak into tonight’s tilt.

The Tigers managed to take only 1 of the 4 games the two teams played in Boston, and will hope to head into the All Star Break by winning back to back series.

Tonight will feature Andrew Miller taking on Julian Tavarez. The Tigers were handled by Tavarez who had been struggling at the time when the two team met up in May. In his last 7 starts Tavarez has posted a 3.48 ERA with a decent walk rate but pedestrian K-rate. He hasn’t allowed a homer in his last 4 starts.

The Tigers will send out Andrew Miller. Miller was knocked around in his last start, but showed a little more than that. He mixed in more off speed pitches and induced some swings and misses. In the end though, 6 of the 8 baserunners he allowed crossed the plate.

The only lineup note I know at the moment is that Mike Rabelo will start in lieu of Pudge Rodriguez. Not sure who will be starting in left field tonight: it will be Marcus Thames. And as a final note, Vance Wilson was transferred to the 60 day DL to make room for Ryan Raburn.

BOS @ DET, Friday, July 6, 2007 Game Preview –

Game Time 7:05pm

: I’ve been critical of the Tigers decision to keep Andrew Miller in the rotation because I’ve felt that he needed more time to develop his secondary pitches. I wanted him to explode on the scene like Justin Verlander did last year and be dominating. Tonight is a glimpse of what I was hoping for. This was by far his best start as he shut down an offense that is good even without Big Papi. He used his breaking pitches and change to fan Manny Ramirez a couple times which was probably the most impressive part.

If he can pitch that well, or even close to that well on a consistent basis I’ll be more than happy to be wrong.

The other big performer was Marcus Thames who hit 3 balls far enough to be homers, but only one of them was the right direction. Fortunately it was the one with the bases loaded as Thames was the 5th different Tiger to hit a slam this year.

  • How about Placido Polanco running hard on a pop-up with 2 outs in the 8th inning of a 7 run game and legging out a double?
  • The Tigers looked miserable the first time through the order with only one ball making it to the outfield. But the next couple times the Tigers were ripping the ball all over the park.
  • Miller did get some help with a remarkable throw from Granderson and tag by Rabelo. He kept the throw low, but it never bounced and Rabelo was able to catch it clean.
  • I don’t mind Gene Lamont sending Mike Rabelo on the play he was thrown out on. I think that Lamont has really been a little too conservative this year and in those 2 out situations I’m in the camp of making the other team make the play.


  1. Deaner

    July 6, 2007 at 3:14 pm

    Hopefully the Tigers can keep the offensive cylinders firing.

  2. Adam

    July 6, 2007 at 3:38 pm

    I just read that Magglio’s doing the Home Run derby, even though he said he didn’t want to and that it “messes with your swing.”

    Maybe he wants it to mess with his swing.

  3. Jason

    July 6, 2007 at 3:41 pm

    Can this game please just start already. This is gonna be a great series.

  4. Mike R

    July 6, 2007 at 4:03 pm

    I hate the HR Derby and the All-Star game. I’d prefer all out reps just take the break and not go. Especially not participate in the HR Derby, though I don’t remember it affecting Pudge a ton when he was in it in the finals against Abreu in Detroit.

  5. Dave Wagner

    July 6, 2007 at 5:34 pm

    The HR Derby is one of the least entertaining entertaining events ever

  6. Dave Wagner

    July 6, 2007 at 5:45 pm

    I’m going to be at this game, and am pretty excited at the possibility of seeing Raburn’s first game this year. I’ve followed the man’s career for so long, he’s like a son to me….

    A son that is a whole several month’s younger than me.

  7. Vince in MN

    July 6, 2007 at 6:13 pm

    Twins beat the White Sox by two field goals in first game of a doubleheader, 20-14.

  8. Chris in Nashville

    July 6, 2007 at 6:25 pm

    Yahoo Gametracker has Thames starting in Left Field and batting 7th

  9. Mark

    July 6, 2007 at 6:53 pm

    Yeah, Rex Grossman was pitching for the Sox today.

  10. Anne

    July 6, 2007 at 7:15 pm

    Good 1st inning by Miller, I love when we set them down 1-2-3. Eight more just like that.

  11. billfer

    July 6, 2007 at 7:21 pm

    Real nice pitching to Manny there, getting the K on the off speed pitch.

  12. Chris in Nashville

    July 6, 2007 at 7:38 pm

    WHAT A PLAY by Granderson and Rabelo…great throw by Curtis, Rabelo blocked the plate and made a great tag…..tremendous play right there.

  13. Mike R

    July 6, 2007 at 7:49 pm

    Wily Mo looked safe to me, but nevertheless I didn’t think Granderson would make that a close play. Nice gun. And Wily Mo’s a fairy. Dude’s enormous. Lower your shoulder and Ray Fosse someone.

  14. Kathy

    July 6, 2007 at 8:03 pm

    I sure wish the Tigers could get some hits strung together. Their pitcher looks pretty good.

  15. Anne

    July 6, 2007 at 8:13 pm

    Your wish is the Tigs’ command, Kathy. 🙂

    I almost thought Casey had homer #2 there, but I’ll take the sacrifice.

  16. Chris in Nashville

    July 6, 2007 at 8:16 pm

    Marcus had a great AB there…he SMOKED that ball…I can’t believe Crisp caught that

  17. Mike R

    July 6, 2007 at 8:19 pm

    Why send the back up catcher on that? Thanks Gene.

  18. Kathy

    July 6, 2007 at 8:19 pm

    Now that’s what I’m talkin about!

  19. Mike R

    July 6, 2007 at 8:20 pm

    Oh, and only in Detroit and Houston’s ballpark can someone hit a 418 foot sac fly. Haha, tough luck Marcus.

  20. Anne

    July 6, 2007 at 8:20 pm

    I guess that’s Wily Mo’s revenge eh? Nice hit by Inge. Any run scored with 2 out is that much sweeter.

  21. Josh

    July 6, 2007 at 8:23 pm

    You have to hold Mike there. Take Granderson hitting with runners on against a pitcher who is struggling over sending the backup catcher on a play when the shortstop has the ball when he is rounding third. Bad call by Lamont.

    And yay Thames playing.

  22. Kathy

    July 6, 2007 at 8:28 pm

    I’d have to agree with Mario and Rod. They replayed it several times and although their catcher had his leg blocking the plate, Mike went around and it looked like he touched the plate before their catcher actually tagged him.

    Yeah Grandy!!!!

  23. billfer

    July 6, 2007 at 8:29 pm

    The explosion the last 2 innings is hard to believe given that only one ball left the infield the first time through the order.

  24. Chris in Nashville

    July 6, 2007 at 8:34 pm

    Not to kiss up to the host of the site, but good call Bilfer. They looked like they did the last time against Tavarez and completely turned it around…..hopefully we can hold this lead and Doc Halladay can hold of the Indians and we can tie this thing up!

  25. Anne

    July 6, 2007 at 8:37 pm

    Toronto 6-3 over Cleveland in the top of the 5th. Go Jays, go Jays go!

  26. Anne

    July 6, 2007 at 8:39 pm


    C-Mo may never get back in the line-up now.

  27. Mike R

    July 6, 2007 at 8:40 pm

    Is there a reason for Craig Monroe to get any playing time at all the next couple weeks?

    Survey says: No.

  28. tiff

    July 6, 2007 at 8:40 pm

    Intentionally walk that, Tavarez!!

  29. Jason

    July 6, 2007 at 8:40 pm

    Monroe just lost his job for a while

  30. Chris in Nashville

    July 6, 2007 at 8:40 pm

    Wow……how can you not play Marcus every day now? I loved how they showed C-Mo after the shot…he looked like he knew he was on the bench for a while or traded.

  31. Eric Jackson

    July 6, 2007 at 8:41 pm

    Go Marcus!

  32. charlie

    July 6, 2007 at 8:41 pm

    MARCUS…beautiful shot…making a real case for himself tonite…wants to play everyday…should play everyday. ya baby

  33. T Smith

    July 6, 2007 at 8:42 pm

    For a minute there, the Red Sox thought they were pitching to Monroe, walking Casey….

    I said before the bat, ‘make ’em pay!’

    No more platooning Thames, PLEASE!!!

  34. Vince in MN

    July 6, 2007 at 8:43 pm


    Sure he will. Leyland will pinch hit for Thames with Monroe (for defensive purposes) next time up. 😉

  35. Jeff

    July 6, 2007 at 8:44 pm

    I didn’t see Monroe look disappointed in the dugout, he looked pleased for his friend there. He’ll get to play vs lefties when Thames plays first base, and will play as a defensive replacement. He’ll revert to being the 4th outfielder, which is a good role for him.

  36. Mike

    July 6, 2007 at 8:49 pm

    Thames deserves to play everyday, that is for sure. He has 5 RBIs in this game, and ALWAYS seems to get the big hit. The thing that is getting lost in this game with all of the offense is Miller is FINALLY commanding more than one pitch. He looks good.

  37. Vince in MN

    July 6, 2007 at 8:55 pm

    Miller at 91 pitches. Does Leyland turn it over to the bullpen for the 7th – maybe Chad Durbin for the final 3 – we could shorten the dynamic duo to Milbin.

  38. Mike

    July 6, 2007 at 8:57 pm

    I say give Miller one more inning. It worked last night. No lead is safe with our bullpen.

  39. Mike R

    July 6, 2007 at 8:57 pm

    Cameron Maybin hurt his shoulder, hence why he hasn’t played since the 1st.

  40. billfer

    July 6, 2007 at 8:57 pm

    Jeff – I saw the same thing. Same thing as when Thames made the diving catch Monroe was up and cheering as much as anyone on the bench.

  41. Mike R

    July 6, 2007 at 8:58 pm

    whoops. Here’s what I meant to put in my last post:

    “His shoulder popped out of place as he landed without the ball. A Roberson graduate and member of the Lakeland (Fla.) Flying Tigers, Maybin hasn’t played since.

    His mother, Renee Maybin, said on Thursday that she’s not sure whether her son will be able to play in the MLB All-Star Futures game Sunday in San Francisco.

    The younger Maybin had been invited to participate in the nationally televised contest for the second straight year.

    “We were actually going to go to San Francisco, but our plans are on hold because he got hurt, and we don’t know whether they’re going to let him play or not”, Renee Maybin said. “My understanding is that they’re doing an MRI to see whether he can play.”

  42. billfer

    July 6, 2007 at 9:00 pm

    Mike –

    They’re saying he’ll be out 2 weeks after an MRI and that it isn’t a serious injury. He’ll be out of the futures game though but will still travel to SF.

  43. Mike R

    July 6, 2007 at 9:06 pm

    Ahh, thanks Billfer.

  44. Mike R

    July 6, 2007 at 9:10 pm

    A move by Jim Leyland that I liked. I’m stunned.

  45. charlie

    July 6, 2007 at 9:14 pm

    any opinions as to whether or not vance wilson is done as a tiger. mike rabelo has made a great case for himself this year…i think he will be back on the roster next year.

  46. billfer

    July 6, 2007 at 9:14 pm

    Will the blow out nature of the game get Ryan Raburn some playing time tonight?

  47. billfer

    July 6, 2007 at 9:17 pm

    Wilson is signed for next year, so I think he’ll be back.

  48. Stephen

    July 6, 2007 at 9:26 pm

    Hey, any you guys still think Miller needs to go back to AAA and work on his change up? He’s a helluva of a fifth starter.

  49. Mike R

    July 6, 2007 at 9:30 pm

    If you’re using this start as evidence why he should stay, I claim his last start as evidence as why he should be in the minors.

  50. Stephen

    July 6, 2007 at 9:34 pm

    Well then, how about the Braves start before that? And the 6 innings, 3 earned run start before that? He’s supposed the fifth starter not Cy Young. The guy’s got an ERA of 3.31. You seriously would rather have Miner or Durbin out there?
    This guy is a stud. If he keeps his ERA below 4.50 and wins half is starts he’s helping the team and getting immeasurable experience. Meanwhile, Durbin gets to help relieve some of the grimness of the bullpen.

  51. Eric Jackson

    July 6, 2007 at 9:37 pm

    Way to start of Raburn!

  52. billfer

    July 6, 2007 at 9:37 pm

    Stephen – this has been by far the outing that has most impressed me. That said, I don’t really agree with characterizing him as a 5th starter because i don’t think the Tigers view him as that. If they were just looking for a 5th starter they have (and traded 2) other options.

  53. Mike R

    July 6, 2007 at 9:42 pm

    The Braves are middle of the pack offensive team.

    He’s getting ‘immeasurable experience’ that will stunt his change-up’s growth. I’d much prefer he comes up as more of a Justin Verlander with 3 pitches then a Bonderman with 2. He’s a stud, yes, he’s also not big league ready and I’m not one that favors baptism by fire rather then getting a full year of pro ball under his belt before being thrust into the middle of a pennant race. Look at Joey Devine for the Braves, who they rushed up to help in a pennant race. Now he’s had to go back down to Double-A to regain his confidence and his stuff.

  54. Dead Rabbit

    July 6, 2007 at 9:53 pm

    Send Miller to the minors…you guys kill me.

  55. Stephen

    July 6, 2007 at 9:53 pm

    Well of course he’s not considered a fifth starter, he’s got Verlander quality potential. But right now that’s all they’re asking for him: fill the #5 slot and usually compete against the other team’s fifth starter.
    I don’t how you can call him not big league ready, when he’s made six major league starts and four of them meet the criteria for quality starts. If you want better than that, than Andy Pettite and Tom Glavine should be back in AAA ’cause they’re pitching a lot of worse.
    I don’t understand this way of thinking. Yeah, in a perfect world. he’d spend a full year in AAA, but in a perfect world I’d make a million dollars a year and never get old. It’s a professional game with high stakes: you don’t send someone to Toledo to work on a changeup when you’ve got one of those once a decade chances to win it all. Are you saying if he struggles in the next three starts his confidence will be irreparably damaged? If so, he’s doesn’t have the makeup to be an all-star.
    ‘Baptism by fire’ is when you send out a kid who can’t compete because you don’t have any other choice: see Bonderman of 2003.

  56. Dead Rabbit

    July 6, 2007 at 9:53 pm

    Lets send Verlander down to while we are at it…

  57. Stephen

    July 6, 2007 at 9:58 pm

    Bonderman really could use a month or two to develop a knuckle curve as another ‘out’ pitch.

  58. Chris in Nashville

    July 6, 2007 at 10:12 pm

    I swear, you guys are never happy. Miller was great tonight. He made a top offensive team look stupid tonight. AND the Indians lost, so we are a 1st place team, granted tied, again. Lighten up guys…..

  59. billfer

    July 6, 2007 at 10:13 pm

    I guess I don’t see it as a once in a decade chance to win it all, because this is their second chance in 2 years. And the Tigers organization is going to be relying on Miller to extend that window. The Tigers have 78 million already committed to next year and 67 million in 2009 so they aren’t looking at this as their only shot. The reason they can do this is because they are counting on Miller and Maybin to be a big and yet affordable part of those teams.

    And Rabbit, you were strangely quiet after Miller’s last outing. Nobody is saying have him spend years down there and nobody is advocating sending Verlander down. Just giving Miller the same year to develop his other pitches and build arm strength that Verlander had.

  60. Mike R

    July 6, 2007 at 10:21 pm

    Really? This is our last chance to win a title for the next decade? Does having 3 pitchers under the age of 25 that have ace potential not give us more then enough chances to win titles?

    Oh, and sending Verlander down. I see what you did there. Witty.

  61. Stephen

    July 6, 2007 at 10:35 pm

    Well, of course they could contend for years. Or things could go to hell in a hand basket with I-Rod getting old, Magg’s knees going out, and Sheffield turning forty. That great Tiger team of the 80s won exactly one world championship. Anyone remember ’85 and ’86? They never won a playoff series again. The truth is the Tigers don’t have the money to compete year after year like the Yankees and Red Sox do. When you are a mid-market team, you go for it when it’s right in front of you. If the dude was getting shellacked that’s one thing, but he’s pitching very well. If he starts to suck, you send him down or move him to the bullpen. It’s just crazy to say that Miller spending the next 55 days in Toledo is good for him, good for the team, or good for the future well-being of the franchise. The revenue brought him from winning a world championship is what will keep the Tigers competing for years and years.

  62. Jim

    July 6, 2007 at 10:47 pm

    Mid market? I wouldn’t say that…We’re in the top ten and we’ll move up next year probably.

    Miller looked good to me…I don’t mind him being here if he pitches like that for us.

    Oh..and trade maybin!

  63. T Smith

    July 6, 2007 at 10:55 pm

    The bottom line here:

    This kid is gonna get knocked around some; and he’s also gonna give us seven good innings every now and again. What’s the pros and cons to that? If he gets knocked around (and he will, trust me) how much is that really going to hurt his career — and his worth to the future of this organization?

    What he loses in riding the learning curve at Toledo, he gains in pitching along side Kenny et. al. That’s not to say Billfer doesn’t make valid points. But I just don’t see this “experiment” hurting his future all that much. He’s learning here too, and if we can get a quality start every now in then with the deal, I don’t have too much problem with it. I think he has enough talent to do just that.

    That said, ask me again after his next start. I still think he’s the weak link in the rotation (which speaks nothing at all to his raw ability and talent. The kid is amazing).

  64. Stephen

    July 6, 2007 at 11:00 pm

    I’m sorry but Detroit is not gonna be more than a mid market team in any sport, ever. I don’t want to get all urban planning on this, but the declining population rate of the metro area just is not gonna generate either the tv ad money or the luxury box sales, or ticket revenue to make Detroit a big market team. Sure, we’ve sold 2.8 mil seats in a banner year, but a team like the Red Sox regularly sniffs 2.8 and their ticket prices are so much higher than the Tigers.
    Those are the facts.

  65. Stephen

    July 6, 2007 at 11:08 pm

    T Smith: As usual, well said.

    If Miller ends the year 10-7 with an ERA of 4.50 I’d be happy. That seems imminently possible.

  66. Dave Wagner

    July 6, 2007 at 11:14 pm

    Stephen –

    Detroit is indeed a mid-level market, but the metro area is actually increasing enormously in population. As usual, it’s the city itself (an extreme minority of the market itself) that is declining. Obviously, this wasn’t the heart of your argument, but to state “those are the facts” after a blatantly false claim isn’t a great way to support your points.

  67. Jim

    July 6, 2007 at 11:19 pm

    Ah, you mean in the grand scheme…I agree with you definatly then. I thought you meant based on overall salary. It doesn’t help that we’re in the midwest either. Biggest markets in baseball are on the East then in the West..

    Stephen I think those numbers are very realistic for Miller..I’d say maybe a smaller ERA but not by much.

  68. Stephen

    July 6, 2007 at 11:40 pm

    Well Dave, I indeed meant the city when I said metro area. My bad. Let me clarify: If you have a city whose core population is in permanent decline, you’re never going to compete with the affluence of Chicago, NYC, LA, Boston; no matter how well the outer rings are doing. There’s a certain amount of capital and disposable income that only flows to cities with a vibrant downtown. Other cities with similiar metro area populations, San Francisco and Seattle immediately come to mind, will always have the affluent advantage over the Detroits of the world. And, unfortunately, that impacts baseball.

  69. ron

    July 7, 2007 at 1:18 am


  70. Cameron in Singapore

    July 7, 2007 at 1:48 am

    We survived the first game of the Neifi suspension with a win! We still have a tough 24 remaining.

  71. David

    July 7, 2007 at 2:51 am

    OK, first of all, last time I checked the Tigers play in the AL, as far as attendance goes we are fourth after only the Yankees, Red Sox and Angels.

    And although Detroit and Michigan is hurting our outer rings (descendants of Detroit when it was not crap) have some extremely wealthy spots.

    As the A’s and Twins have pointed out you don’t need to be the Yanks or a mid-market to compete.

    Oh and how are those Yanks doing now?

    It is not how much money you have it is how you spend it and how you draft. And so far Dombrowski has made many good moves (and several dumb).

    The way our team looks including the minors I would be very scared if I was any other AL team, esp. in the AL Central.

    I especially like him going after guys like Verlander, Maybin, Miller, and Porcello who are harder to sign. Its better to pay a couple mil for a top 5 pick and get them into the organization, get used to playing with a ton of other top talent guys, start breeding winning and get them to want to stay for their career.

    Miller is extremely talented, but he needs to locate more often low in the zone. I would not be surprised if he ended up 12-6 with a 3.85 ERA. Plus he can learn another pitch up here and it’s better for him to learn from Kenny Bondo etc. on how to get specific hitters now rather than later. Heck he could win ROY if he keeps pitching like this.

  72. ron

    July 7, 2007 at 10:23 am

    David said it all. I think the extra inning loss to Cleveland was a wake up call; like when Sheff got plunked earlier in the season. It was a game they should have won.I think it pissed off everyone because they’ve come out swinging since then.Go Tigers.

  73. Bob S.

    July 7, 2007 at 11:38 am

    I think the plusses of having Miller stay up far outweigh any minus.There’s nothing he can learn in the minors that can substitute for what he picks up pitching for a big league contender,especially one that can give him a lead to pitch with.It’s a completely different situation than what Bonderman had to endure.
    I agree about his need to work on another pitch.One possibility is the occasional simulated start,letting Durbin or Miner have his place in the rotation.More than anything,I’d worry about fatigue from having him pitch every five days in game conditions.

  74. Kathy

    July 7, 2007 at 12:36 pm

    Re: Directions to the park. Can we get straight to the park or close to it by staying on I94? We’re coming from the western part of the state and the directions on the website made us almost 45 minutes late last game.

    I’ve been to 3 games and we’ve always won. Don’t disappoint me Tigers.

  75. Ed

    July 7, 2007 at 12:56 pm

    Kathy….I like to take I94 west until I75…I go south on I75 to I375 and get off off in the left lane and take Madison and park back there…usually 15-20…or you can go farther on I375 and get off on Lafayette and take a right and park down by Greektown for 10-15 or so and walk about 10 blocks..I personally park off madison..easy in and very quick out

  76. Kathy

    July 7, 2007 at 1:40 pm

    Thanks, Ed.